by Jim Allen
The Lost CJ-4 discovered in 1997 apparently had a direct connection to the development of the M38A1 (the first round-fender production-model Jeep, made for the military starting in 1951.)
I have found pictures and limited information on some military rigs that bear the same front end design as the CJ-4. One was apparently a prototype which was designated CJ-4M by Willys.
Factory photos dated 5 March 1951 show the prototype vehicle produced under Willys Engineering Release 6555, "Military Jeep with 4FB Engine." It's equipped with snorkels and blackout lamps, and headlamp guards ala the M38 (model MC) are also fitted. See also a left profile (125K JPEG) and rear view (150K JPEG) showing tailgate-mounted spare and gas can rack.
This obviously retouched photo of the CJ-4M might actually be a shot of the civvy CJ-4 doctored to look military. Taillight-style blackout lamps are seen in place of the front blackout marker lights.
The skirted fenders of the CJ-4 and CJ-4M are distinctive, and different from another prototype known as "X98" (below) which shared a similar hood profile but had flat fenders.
There are several photos of the flatfender prototype X98 being tested by the U.S. Army (see New Universal Jeep Designs, 1949-53) but factory photos of this rig have not turned up.
Another variant with the CJ-4 front wrap was a long wheelbase unit that apparently preceded the M170 models, and has been called the XM170. It is apparently Willys Engineering Project 6396, Model CJ-4MA Ambulance.
The M38A1 and M170 of course later became the CJ-5 and CJ-6 respectively. It's interesting that Willys apparently had early plans for a civvy version of the military developments, as evidenced by the CJ-4, when the CJ-3B was not yet even in production.
Thanks to Jim Allen for contributing his research, and thanks to Hubert Cossard for his drawings. -- Derek Redmond
See New Universal Jeep Designs, 1949-53 for more details on the military prototypes.
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